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Who is a young carer?

A young carer is a child who looks after or helps to look after someone who has an illness, learning or physical disability, a mental health illness or misuse of drugs or alcohol.

What might a young carer do?

Practical tasks, such as cooking, housework and shopping. Physical care, such as helping someone out of bed. Emotional support, such as talking to someone who is distressed. Personal care, such as helping someone dress. Managing the family budget and collecting prescriptions. Helping to give medicine. Helping someone communicate. Looking after brothers and sisters. Young carers can find that looking after someone takes up a lot of their time; it can sometimes be very difficult for them to cope with everything. School work and attendance may suffer as well as finding time for their friends and other activities.

New figures from BBC News and the University of Nottingham reveal that the extent of caring by children is much higher than had been thought, with 22% of children, who responded to a questionnaire, admitting to being young carers.

This suggests more than one in five children in England carry out some care for sick and disabled family members.

Information for parents of young carers

If you are a parent or guardian of a young carer, you can register them with us at Carer Support Wiltshire. You can call us to do this on 0800 181 4118 or email 

Community First: Youth Action Wiltshire is the ‘youth arm’ of Wiltshire based charity Community First. They work with young carers, young adult carers (aged 5 to 19), and their families in Wiltshire through a dedicated Wiltshire Young Carers Service. You can contact them on or ring them on 01380 720 671.

We also encourage you to refer young carers through to Wiltshire Council.  You can make the referral to MASH by calling 0300 456 0108 or emailing

Under the Children and Families Act 2014, all Young Carers under the age of 18 have a right to an assessment from the local authority, regardless of who they care for, what type of care they provide, or how often they provide care.

You can find out more on the Wiltshire Council website here.

Information for teachers and school staff

As many as one in five students in every class could be a young carer so it’s incredibly important to identify and support them in schools. Young carers are a vulnerable and disadvantaged group, meaning poor attendance, poorer mental health and bullying are frequently experienced. This affects school attainment and performance.

Identifying and supporting Young Carers can have a huge positive impact on the wellbeing of students who may be struggling, and allow them to feel supported and understood.

Referral process – Professionals

If you are a teacher or other professional who has identified a young carer you will need to talk to their parents or guardian about referring them to Wiltshire Council. You can make the referral to MASH by calling 0300 456 0108 or emailing

16 – 18 year olds

At 16, a young carer is also eligible for a transitions assessment, get in touch with Youth Action Wiltshire to enquire about this today. Email, or ring 01380 720 671 for more information.